Kent Showler felt like he had to do something good when he came to the plate with one out in the bottom of the sixth inning and a runner on second. Bowie was tied with Thomas Stone in a Maryland 4A baseball semifinal, and Showler -- the Bulldogs' No. 8 hitter -- was anxious to make up for an earlier strikeout.
Showler's line drive to center field brought Zachary Adomanis home with the winning run as the eighth-ranked Bulldogs defeated Thomas Stone, 6-5, in a Maryland 4A semifinal at Prince George's Stadium.
"I was just looking first-pitch fastball," Showler said. "He grooved it. I turned on it. It felt good."
With their 19th consecutive victory, the Bulldogs (24-1) advanced to the title game against Sherwood on Friday at Joe Cannon Stadium. The Warriors advanced with a 4-0 victory over Thomas Johnson on Tuesday before storms interrupted the second semifinal with Bowie leading Thomas Stone, 3-2.
When play resumed yesterday, Thomas Stone (16-9) twice rallied to tie only to have Bowie pull ahead again.
The bottom of the Bulldogs' order delivered key hits each time, and Bowie remained alive in its quest to win Prince George's County's first state championship in baseball since 1984.
Dave Robertson, who bats ninth and refers to himself a second leadoff hitter, drove in runs with a double in the second inning and a single in the fourth.
After Thomas Stone scored once in the fifth and once in the sixth to tie it at 5, Adomanis led off the bottom of the inning with a single. Mike Chartos bunted Adomanis to second and Showler sent the next pitch up the middle for the decisive hit.
"No matter where they were in the lineup," Thomas Stone Coach Ed Glaeser said, "it seemed like they were getting people on base and producing things."
Dupski Boosts Centennial
When Centennial's baseball team celebrated its first state championship three years ago, a wide-eyed freshman named Jon Dupski was awfully jealous.
"I was watching it from the stands," he said.
Dupski was in the middle of everything yesterday as the Eagles defeated Leonardtown, 4-2, in a Maryland 3A semifinal at Joe Cannon Stadium. Centennial (20-4) will return there to face C.M. Wright in the championship game at 7 p.m. Saturday.
The game was suspended after one inning Tuesday night because of thunderstorms, but Dupski returned to the mound less than 24 hours later. He kept an aggressive Leonardtown lineup, which entered the game batting .345 and defeated two of its three previous opponents by mercy rule, off-balance with a brilliant mix of off-speed and breaking pitches that were always around the strike zone.
Dupski struck out seven and yielded three singles through the first five innings. He did not walk anyone and, at one point, went six straight batters without throwing a ball.
"He's just a phenomenal pitcher," Centennial Coach Denis Ahearn said. "He can throw it past you, and he can also keep you off-balance. He's truly an all-around pitcher, not just a thrower."
Centennial broke a scoreless tie in the top of the sixth inning with four runs off three Leonardtown pitchers. Eleven Eagles batted and the first six had hits.
Junior Dan Shillingburg had an RBI single, sophomore Scott Swinson had a two-run single and freshman Austin Harclerode drove in a run with a double.
Leonardtown (17-7) scored twice off Dupski in the bottom of the inning on an RBI double by junior Paul Burch and a two-out single by senior Cory Jones.
Swinson relieved Dupski to start the bottom of the seventh, yielding a pair of singles before striking out the last batter to end the game.
Southern Out of Steam
Nothing was quite the same when Southern took the field yesterday to complete the final four innings of their Maryland 2A semifinal at Arundel High. Starting pitcher Ken Misal was not as sharp, the bats were not as lively and the momentum was gone.
The end result was a 5-1 defeat at the hands of J.M. Bennett (19-2).
Misal had shut down the Clippers before storms halted play on Tuesday. After a routine fourth inning, J.M. Bennett scored five times in the fifth, including a two-run home run by Brandon Records. Misal was then replaced by Brett Jones.
And after collecting four hits Tuesday, Southern (14-8) was limited to just Ryan Fate's single yesterday.
"We lost a lot of momentum, then the rains came and we weren't as up for the game today as we were last night," Jones said.
J.M. Bennett Coach Glenn Gibson decided to change pitchers when the game restarted yesterday, sending Gordon Krester out to start the fourth inning. Krester shut out Southern the rest of the way.
"There were no second thoughts," said Branco about the decision to allow Misal to return to the mound. "There are no excuses."
Special correspondent Charlie Moss contributed to this report.